Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



DECEMFID, a. [L. decem, ten, and fido, to divide.]

Ten-cleft; divided into ten parts; having ten divisions.

DECEMLOCULAR, a. [L. decem, ten, and loculus, a little bag or cell.] Having ten cells for seeds.

DECEMPEDAL, a. [L. decem, ten, and pes, a foot.] Ten feet in length.

DECEMVIR, n. [L. decem, ten, and vir, a man.] One of ten magistrates, who had absolute authority in ancient Rome.

DECEMVIRAL, a. Pertaining to the decemvirs in Rome.


1. The office or term of office of the decemvirs or ten magistrates in Rome, who had absolute authority for two years.

2. A body of ten men in authority.

DECENCY, n. [L. to be fit or becoming; Gr. to be good, or fit for.]

1. That which is fir, suitable or becoming, in words or behavior; propriety of form, in social intercourse, in actions or discourse; proper formality; becoming ceremony. It has a special reference to behavior; as decency of conduct; decency of worship. But it is used also in reference to speech; as, he discoursed with decency.

Those thousand decencies, that daily flow

From all her words and actions.

2. Suitableness to character; propriety.

3. Propriety in speech; modesty; opposed to ribaldry, or obscenity.

Want of decency is want of sense.

It may be also used for propriety of speech, opposed to rudeness, or disrespectful language; and for propriety in dress, opposed to raggedness, exposure of nakedness, filthiness, etc.

DECENNARY, n. [L. from decem, ten, and annus, a year.]

1. A period of years.

2. A tithing consisting of ten freeholders and their families.

DECENNIAL, a. [L. as above.] Continuing for ten years; consisting of ten years; or happening every ten years; as a decennial period; decennial games.

DECENNOVAL, DECENNOVARY, a. [L. decem, ten, and novem, nine.] Pertaining to the number nineteen; designating a period or circle of nineteen years.

DECENT, a. [L. decens; Fr. decent.]

1. Becoming; fit; suitable, in words, behavior, dress and ceremony; as decent language; decent conduct or actions; decent ornaments or dress.

2. Comely; not gaudy or ostentatious.

A sable stole of Cyprus lawn

O’er the decent shoulders drawn.

3. Not immodest.

4. In popular language, moderate, but competent; not large; as a decent fortune. So a decent person is one not highly accomplished, nor offensively rude.


1. In a decent or becoming manner; with propriety of behavior or speech.

2. Without immodesty.

Past hope of safety, ‘twas his latest care,

Like falling Caesar, decently to die.

DECENTNESS, n. Decency.

DECEPTIBILITY, n. The quality or state of being capable or liable to be deceived.

DECEPTIBLE, a. That may be deceived.


1. The act of deceiving or misleading.

All deception is a misapplication of the established signs used to communicate thoughts.

2. The state of being deceived or misled. Incautious and inexperienced youth is peculiarly exposed to deception.

3. Artifice practiced; cheat; as, a scheme is alla deception.

DECEPTIOUS, a. Tending to deceive; deceitful.

DECEPTIVE, a. Tending to deceive; having power to mislead, or impress false opinions; as a deceptive countenance or appearance.

DECEPTORY, a. Tending to deceive; containing qualities or means adapted to mislead.

DECERPT, a. Cropped.

DECERPTION, n. [L. to pluck off.] A pulling or plucking off; a cropping.

DECERTATION, n. [L. To strive.] Strife; contest for mastery.

DECESSION, n. [L. to pass.] Departure.

DECHARM, v.t. To remove a spell or enchantment; to disenchant.

DECHARMED, pp. Disenchanted.

DECHARMING, ppr. Removing a spell.

DECHRISTIANIZE, v.t. To turn from christianity; to banish christian belief and principles from.

DECIDABLE, a. That may be decided.

DECIDE, v.t. [L. To strike, to cut.] Literally, to cut off, and thus to end. Hence,

1. To end; to determine, as a controversy, by verdict of a jury, or by a judgement of court. We say, the court or the jury decided the cause in favor of the plaintiff, or of the defendant.

2. To end or determine, as a dispute or quarrel.

3. To end or determine a combat or battle; as, a body of reserve, brought to the charge, decided the contest.

4. To determine; to fix the event of.

The fate of the bill is decided.

5. In general, to end; to terminate.

DECIDE, v.i. To determine; to form a definite opinion; to come to a conclusion.

We cannot decide how far resistance is lawful or practicable.

The court decided in favor of the defendant.

DECIDED, pp. Determined; ended; concluded.

DECIDED, a. That implies decision; clear; unequivocal; that puts an end to doubt.

I find much cause to reproach myself, that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a christian. P. Henry, Wirt’s Sketches.

DECIDEDLY, adv. In a decided or determined manner; clearly; indisputable; in a manner to preclude doubt.

DECIDENCE, n. A falling off.

DECIDER, n. One who determines a cause or contest.

DECIDING, ppr. Determing; ending; concluding.

DECIDUOUS, a. [L. to fall.] Falling; not perennial or permanent. In botany, a deciduous leaf is one which falls in autumn; a deciduous calyx, is that which falls after the corol opens; distinguished from permanent.

DECIDUOUSNESS, n. The quality of falling once a year.

DECIGRAM, n. A French weight of one tenth of a gram.

DECIL, n. An aspect or position of two planets, when they are distant from each other a tenth part of the zodiac.

DECILITER, n. A French measure of capacity equal to one tenth of a liter.

DECIMAL, a. [L. decimus, tenth, from decem, ten.]

1. Numbered by ten; as decimal progression.

2. Increasing or diminishing by ten; as decimal numbers; decimal arithmetic; decimal fractions.

3. Tenth; as a decimal part.

DECIMALLY, adv. By tens; by means of decimals.

DECIMATE, v.t. [L. decimo, from decem, ten.]

1. To tithe; to take the tenth part.

2. To select by lot and punish with death every tenth man; a practice in armies, for punishing mutinous or unfaithful troops.

3. To take every tenth.


1. A tithing; a selection of every tenth by lot.

2. The selecting by lot for punishment every tenth man, in a company or regiment, etc.

DECIMATOR, n. One who selects every tenth man, in a company or regiment, etc.

DECIMETER, n. A French measure of length equal to the tenth part of a meter, or 3 inches and 93710 decimals.

DECIMO-SEXTO, n. A book is in decimo-sexto, when a sheet is folded into sixteen leaves.


1. To find the alphabet of a cipher; to explain what is written in ciphers, by finding what letter each character or mark represents; as, to decipher a letter written in ciphers.

2. To unfold; to unravel what is intricate; to explain what is obscure or difficult to be understood; as, to decipher an ambiguous speech, or an ancient manuscript or inscription.

3. To write out; to mark down in characters.

4. To stamp; to mark; to characterize.

DECIPHERED, pp. Explained; unraveled; marked.

DECIPHERER, n. One who explains what is written in ciphers.

DECIPHERING, ppr. Explaining; detecting the letters represented by ciphers; unfolding; marking.


1. Determination, as of a question or doubt; final judgment or opinion, in a case which has been under deliberation or discussion; as the decision of the Supreme Court. He has considered the circumstances of the case and come to a decision.

2. Determination of a contest or event; end of a struggle; as the decision of a battle by arms.

3. In Scotland, a narrative or report of the proceedings of the Court of Sessions.

4. Report of the opinions and determinations of any tribunal. We say, read the decisions of the Court of King’s Bench.

5. Act of separation; devision.


1. Having the power or quality of determining a question, doubt, or any subject of deliberation; final; conclusive; putting an end to controversy; as, the opinion of the court is decisive of the question.

2. Having the power of determining a contest or event; as, the victory of the allies was decisive.

DECISIVELY, adv. In a conclusive manner; in a manner to end deliberation, controversy, doubt or contest.


1. The power of an argument or of evidence to terminate a difference or doubt; conclusiveness.

2. The power of an event to put an end to a contest.

DECISORY, a. Able to decide or determine.

DECK, v.t.

1. Primarily, to cover; to overspread; to put on. Hence,

2. To clothe; to dress the person; but usually, to clothe with more than ordinary elegance; to array; to adorn; to embellish.

The dew with spangles decked the ground.

3. To furnish with a deck, as a vessel.

DECK, n.

1. The covering of a ship, which constitutes a floor, made of timbers and planks. Small vessels have only one deck; larger ships have two or three decks. A flush deck is a continued floor from stem to stern, on one line.

2. A pack of cards piled regularly on each other.

DECKED, pp. Covered; adorned; furnished with a deck.


1. One who decks or adorns; a coverer; as a table-decker.

2. Of a ship, we say, she is a two-decker or a three-decker, that is, she has two decks or three decks.

DECKING, ppr. Covering; arraying; adorning.

DECKING, n. Ornament; embellishment.

DECLAIM, v.i. [L. to cry out.]

1. To speak a set oration in public; to speak rhetorically; to make a formal speech, or oration; as, the students declaim twice a week.

2. To harangue; to speak loudly or earnestly, to a public body or assembly, with a view to convince their minds or move their passions.


1. To speak in public.

2. To speak in favor of; to advocate.


1. One who declaims; a speaker in public; one who attempts to convince by a harangue.

2. One who speaks clamorously.

DECLAIMING, ppr. Speaking rhetorically; haranguing.

DECLAIMING, n. A harangue.


1. A speech made in public, in the tone and manner of an oration; a discourse addressed to the reason or to the passions; a set speech; a harangue. This word is applied especially to the public speaking and speeches of students in colleges, practiced for exercises in oratory. It is applies also to public speaking in the legislature, and in the pulpit. Very often it is used for a noisy harangue, without solid sense or argument; as, mere declamation; empty declamation.

2. A piece spoken in public, or intended for the public.

DECLAMATOR, n. A declaimer.


1. Relating to the practice of declaiming; pertaining to declamation; treated in the manner of a rhetorician; as a declamatory theme.

2. Appealing to the passions; noisy; rhetorical without solid sense or argument; as a declamatory way or style.

DECLATABLE, a. That may be declared, or proved.


1. An affirmation; an open expression of facts or opinions; verbal utterance; as, he declared his sentiments, and I rely on his declaration.

2. Expression of facts, opinions, promises, predictions, etc., in writings; records or reports of what has been declared or uttered.

The scriptures abound in declarations of mercy to penitent sinners.

3. Publication; manifestation; as the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai. Esther 10:2.

4. A public annunciation; proclamation; as the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

5. In law, that part of the process or pleadings in which the plaintiff sets forth at large his cause of complaint; the narration or count.


1. Making declaration; explanatory; making show or manifestation; as, the name of a thing may be declarative of its form or nature.

2. Making proclamation, or publication.

DECLARATORILY, adv. By declaration, or exhibition.

DECLARATORY, a. Making declaration, clear manifestation, or exhibition; expressive; as, this clause is declaratory of the will of the legislature. The declaratory part of a law, is that which sets forth and defines what is right and what is wrong. A declaratory act, is an act or statute which sets forth more clearly and explains the intention of the legislature in a former act.

DECLARE, v.t. [L. to make clear.]

1. To clear; to free from obscurity; to make plain.

2. To make known; to tell explicitly; to manifest or communicate plainly to others by words.

I will declare what he hath done for my soul. Psalm 66:16.

3. To make known; to show to the eye or to the understanding; to exhibit; to manifest by other means than words.

The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19:1.

4. To publish; to proclaim.

Declare his glory among the heathen. 1 Chronicles 16:24.

Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. Acts 15:3.

5. To assert; to affirm; as, he declares the story to be false.

To declare one’s self, to throw off reserve and avow one’s opinion; to show openly what one thinks, or which side he espouses.


1. To make a declaration; to proclaim or avow some opinion or resolution in favor or in opposition; to make known explicitly some determination; with for or against; as, the prince declared for the allies; the allied powers declared against France.

Like fawning courtiers, for success they wait;

And then come smiling, and declare for fate.

2. In law, to recite the causes of complaint against the defendant; as, the plaintiff declares in debt or trespass.

3. To show or manifest the issue or event; to decide in favor of; as, victory had not declared for either party.

DECLARED, pp. Made known; told explicitly; avowed; exhibited; manifested; published; proclaimed; recited.

DECLAREDLY, adv. Avowedly; explicitly.

DECLARER, n. One who makes known or publishes; that which exhibits.

DECLARING, ppr. Making known by words or by other means; manifesting; publishing; affirming; reciting the cause of complaint.

DECLARING, n. Declaration; proclamation.


1. Literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a tendency towards a less degree of excellence or perfection. The declension of a state is manifested by corruption of morals. We speak of the declension of virtue, of manners, of taste, of the sciences, of the fine arts, and sometimes of life or years; but in the latter application, decline is more generally used.

2. Declination; a declining; descent; slope; as the declension of the shore towards the sea.

3. In grammar, inflection of nouns, adjectives and pronouns; the declining, deviation or leaning of the termination of a word from the termination of the nomitive case; change of termination to form the oblique cases. Thus from rex in the nominative case, are formed regis in the genitive, regi in the dative, regem in the accusative, and rege in the ablative.

DECLINABLE, a. That may be declined; changing its termination in the oblique cases; as a declinable noun.

DECLINATE, a. In botany, bending or bent downwards, in a curve; declining.


1. A leaning; the act of bending down; as a declination of the head.

2. A declining, or falling into a worse state; change from a better to a worse condition; decay; deterioration; gradual failure or diminution of strength, soundness, vigor or excellence.

3. A deviation from a right line, in a literal sense; oblique motion; as the declination of a descending body.

4. Deviation from rectitude in behavior or morals; obliquity of conduct; as a declination from the path of integrity.

5. In astronomy, a variation from a fixed point or line. The distance of any celestial object from the equinoctial line, or equator, either northward or southward.

6. Declination of the compass or needle, is the variation of the needle from the true meridian of a place.

7. In dialing, the declination of a wall or plane, is an arch of the horizon, contained between the plane and the prime vertical circle, if reckoned from the east or west, or between the meridian and the plane, if you reckon from the north or south.

8. In grammar, declension; or the inflection of a noun through its various terminations.

DECLINATOR, DECLINATORY, n. An instrument for taking the declination, or inclination of a plane; an instrument in dialling.

Declinatory plea, in law, a plea before trial or conviction, intended to show that the party was not liable to the penalty of the law, or was specially exempted from the jurisdiction of the court. The plea of benefit of clergy is a declinatory plea.

DECLINE, v.i. [L. to lean.]

1. To lean downward; as, the head declines towards the earth.

2. To lean from a right line; to deviate; in a literal sense.

3. To lean or deviate from rectitude, in a moral sense; to leave the path of truth or justice, or the course prescribed.

Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. Psalm 119:157.

4. To fall; to tend or draw towards the close; as, the day declines.

5. To avoid or shun; to refuse; not to comply; not to do; as, he declined to take any part in the concern.

6. To fall; to fail; to sink; to decay; to be impaired; to tend to a less perfect state; as, the vigor of youth declines in age; health declines; virtue declines; religion declines; national credit and prosperity decline, under a corrupt administration.

7. To sink; to diminish; to fall in value; as, the prices of land and goods decline at the close of a war.


1. To bend downward; to bring down.

In melancholy deep, with head declined.

2. To bend to one side; to move from a fixed point or right line.

3. To shun or avoid; to refuse; not to engage in; to be cautious not to do or interfere; not to accept or comply with; as, he declined the contest; he declined the offer; he declined the business or pursuit.

4. To inflect; to change the termination of a word, for forming the oblique cases; as, Dominus, Domini, Domino, Dominum, Domine.

DECLINE, n. Literally, a leaning from; hence, a falling off; a tendency to a worse state; diminution or decay; deterioration; as the decline of life; the decline of strength; the decline of virtue and religion; the decline of revenues; the decline of agriculture, commerce or manufactures; the decline of learning.

DECLINED, pp. Bent downward or from; inflected.

DECLINING, ppr. Leaning; deviating; falling; failing; decaying; tending to a worse state; avoiding; refusing; inflecting.

DECLIVITY, n. [L. sloping.] Declination from a horizontal line; descent of land; inclination downward; a slope; a gradual descent of the earth, of a rock or other thing: chiefly used of the earth, and opposed to acclivity, or ascent; the same slope, considered as descending, being a declivity, and considered as ascending, an acclivity.

DECLIVOUS, DECLIVITOUS, a. Gradually descending; not precipitous; sloping.

DECOCT, v.t. [L. to boil.]

1. To prepare by boiling; to digest in hot or boiling water.

2. To digest by the heat of the stomach; to prepare as food for nourishing the body.

3. To boil in water, for extracting the principles or virtues of a substance.

4. To boil up to a consistence; to invigorate.

DECOCTIBLE, a. That may be boiled or digested.


1. The act of boiling a substance in water, for extracting its virtues.

2. The liquor in which a substance has been boiled; water impregnated with the principles of any animal or vegetable substance boiled in it; as a weak or a strong decoction of Peruvian bark.

DECOCTIVE, a. That may be easily decocted.

DECOCTURE, n. A substance drawn by decoction.

DECOLLATE, v.t. To behead.

DECOLLATED, pp. Beheaded.

DECOLLATION, n. [L. to behead; the neck.] The act of beheading; the act of cutting off the neck of an animal, and severing the head from the body. It is especially used of St. John the Baptist, and of a painting which represents his beheading.

DECOLORATION, n. Absence of color.

DECOMPLEX, a. Compounded of complex ideas.

DECOMPOSABLE, a. That may be decomposed; capable of being resolved into its constituent elements.

DECOMPOSE, v.t. To separate the constituent parts of a body or substance; to disunite elementary particles combined by affinity or chimical attraction; to resolve into original elements.

DECOMPOSED, pp. Separated or resolved into the constituent parts.

DECOMPOSING, ppr. Separating into constituent parts.

DECOMPOSITE, a. Compounded a second time; compounded with things already composite.


1. Analysis; the act of separating the constituent parts of a substance, which are chimically combined. Decomposition differs from mechanical division, as the latter effects no change in the properties of the body divided, whereas the parts chimically decomposed have properties very different from those of the substance itself.

2. A second composition.